christmas 2015

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so much food, so little time.  we ate and ate and ate and listened to music and opened presents and basically hibernated in the best tradition of the holiday.

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we did go to listen to carols and hear the archbishop speak in the cathedral on christmas eve so it wasn’t a totally hedonistic celebration. though you must admit the appeal of the glittering, enormous, echoing cathedral is largely sensuous.

all this eating wasn’t for naught, i’ve come away with some brilliant new recipes and techniques for all year-round. brined chicken, overnight rice pudding, scalded rye bread (recipe coming soon), overnight white bread (truly brilliant and maybe my new default bread – though i’m not totally sold, it has a very grown-up proper structure with chewy crust, which is probably a major selling point but i’m rather partial to a softer, nursery food-ish crumb in my white bread), and the best brussels sprouts i’ve ever made – and i’ve made a lot of brussels sprouts. not to mention the crispiest roast potatoes ever (thank you nigella).

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the mince pies turned out perfectly, if you’ve been wondering about the fate of my experiment.

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leftovers revamped.

on sunday the snow finally came and we walked 12km to the electronics store to buy an alarm clock* only to find they were sold out. i’m not complaining though, after the fruitcake, mince pies, plum pudding, gravy and butter butter butter i was very happy to get a good walk in.

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*not just any alarm clock! joakim’s parents gave us a gift certificate for one of those sunrise-simulator alarms which i desperately need. i’m really not one for gizmos but ugh i cannot drag myself back to consciousness without the help of sunshine – which i’ve heard is totally biologically reasonable, but impossible when the sun rises at 9 am.

merry christmas! i’m still officially on holiday until after new years & swedish christmas technically lasts until mid-january so now begins phase two of christmas: after the eating, comes reading. and playing with new presents!

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christmas cookies 1 – brazil nut

hello! the sun shone all day! it’s very cold out! it’s a mid-december miracle!

i was going to bake some sugar cookies today but upon further inspection of my cupboards, found i was fresh out of food colouring. and let’s face it, sugar cookies aren’t that fun unless you decorate them with coloured icing.

on the bright side i did find a handful of brazil nuts left over from making fruitcake. so i made these refrigerator cookies instead and now you get the recipe!


they’re very christmassy, thanks to the cinnamon and the nuts. what’s more christmassy than nuts? feel free to replace the brazil nuts if you don’t happen to find a surprise stash in your own cupboard. pecans and ground ginger would be yum! or what about walnuts and allspice?

the dark brown sugar gives them great flavour, although regular brown sugar would also work. if you can’t find nib sugar (p√§rlsocker), you could use coloured decorating sugar instead. so festive!

brazil nut refrigerator cookies

makes 2 doz cookies


1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp cinnamon1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
35-40 g finely chopped brazil nuts
1 heaping tbsp nib sugar

oven 400f

to do:

cream together the butter, sugar, egg and cinnamon. stir in the flour, salt and baking soda to make a firm dough. it helps to use your hands for this part. form it into a roll about 2 1/2″ in diameter and wrap in baking/waxed paper. stick the roll in the fridge for about 20 minutes to firm up; meanwhile chop the nuts finely and mix with the sugar. after 20 minutes, take out the dough and roll it in the nuts and sugar. this part is easier if the dough is still fairly soft and quite sticky. put it back in the fridge for another 20 minutes or until it’s firm enough to slice. preheat the oven to 400f. slice the roll into 1/4 slices. bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.